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NOTES FROM BIG BEN … Shoup Lite – BY PETER GUEST


of the pond, we were ahead of you guys in the way we thought about parking. JVH rather took me to task in an editorial comment. I think he missed the point – well, several points actually, and here’s why.


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First andmost important, I amspeaking fromtheUK,where


the situation is radically different from what you have and expe- rience in the U.S. and what Professor Donald Shoup describes. JVH says that “Shoupistas” believe developers should have


free rein to determine their parking needs. There lies madness. We start from a different point to you guys in that we have not had a long history of imposed high parking requirements.We had this in theThatcher years but it got better. The fundamental and key point is that parking is only part of


the picture; other factors must be considered. If unrestrained developer-determined parking is allowed, then who pays for the roads needed to carry the traffic? The UK system is government control and it is imperfect, but the solution to transport problems is not applied anarchy in one component of a complex trans- portation system. Street parking:We have a legal system that applies “market


pricing” to public parking in big lumps. It doesn’t change hour by hour or day by day but perhaps year by year. Puremarket pric- ing is a nice academic concept but hardly realizable in the real world. I doubt that the technology exists, and I am certain that if it did, the average driver would not accept it. “I parked here yes- terday, itwas a dollar, and nowit’s $5?Noway, Jose.”Didn’t you guys fight a war based on the principle of no taxation without representation? Your UK friends do indeed get subsidized parking in their


neighborhood. Many parts of our cities pre-date cars, and the councils decided to give residents without off-street facilities street parking rights. The charges are usually set around break- even. The charges are determined by the democratically elected representatives of the people affected, and you wouldn’t get high odds on anyone getting re-elected on a platform of market pric- ing for residents’ parking. Lynched, yes; elected, no. Pesky stuff, this democracy. JVH says that investing parking surpluses in the things that


our lawmandates just allows politicos to pursue pet projects.We do have a law that requires re-investment of parking surpluses in a certainway. It’s not at neighborhood level – thiswould be a sin- gularly difficult concept to define here – but at municipal level, which is the smallest recognizable unit of administration that the UK has. So themoney is returned to the wider community. I am not sure how valid your neighborhood concept is any-


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way. The neighborhood doesn’t generate the money; the parkers do, so why not give it back to the drivers? That would seem fair- er.Also, if a municipality is operating three local “downtowns” and gets a surplus in parking from one, does it really make the


ON’T BITE THE HAND THAT feeds you, goes the old saying.Yes, you should, says I; it keeps them on their feet. In a recent column, I tried to explainwhy I feel that, on this side


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